Doing It Myself

How To Start Your Bullet Journal – Today!

I’d posted a tiny video on my instagram today – it was of my bullet journal, and I had asked if anyone would be interested in knowing how to start a bullet journal in a quick and simple manner. I got so many yes-es! So without further ado, here’s a quick guide on how to get started with bullet journaling.

But first – What’s a Bullet Journal?

A bullet journal is a system of logging tasks that was created by New York City designer Ryder Caroll. It’s pretty straightforward – you write down a title/topic, like the day’s to-do list or a say, a list of things to buy/do for a party you’re planning on top of the page, and list the associated tasks down using bullet marks and short sentences. Once you’ve completed a task, you cross out the bullet to indicate its completion. The official Bullet Journal website has a sort of key (dot for tasks, an ‘o’ for events, hyphens for notes, and so on), but I personally just follow the dot system, and cross the dot out when my task is done.

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How is this different from using any other planner?

It’s different because it’s entirely customizable. While I do follow certain methods that have been listed by Ryder Caroll (I use the monthly layout), I don’t use all of them. There’s no pressure to follow the rigid formats that planners have, so you write your tasks down exactly the way you want to write them, and in the order that you want to write them.

Okay, now what do I need to get started?

All you need is a notebook and a pen. Nothing fancy, any plain ruled or unruled notebook will do. I use a Moleskine but any notebook will do. It can be ruled, unruled, dotted, whatever you like. Here’s the most important rule about starting a bullet journal – IGNORE PINTEREST. You’ll see photos of beautifully handwritten, illustrated, coloured journals which will take a minimum of 3 years just to set up. All you really need are two layouts – a monthly (or weekly) layout, and a daily task list. I use a monthly task list and a daily task list. Here’s what I do – at the start of every month, I take a fresh double page, and make a little calendar on one side of the page. On the other side of the page, I list down tasks for that month.

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No, I’m not telling you where I work, or whose invoices I’m chasing.

Once this is done, I start my daily task list, which is basically the date on top and the list of tasks for the day written down. When I’m done with a task I either cross out the bullet mark, or put a tick next to it. If I can’t get something in my list done, it goes over to the task list for the next day, or whichever date I think it’ll work best. Sometimes, when I don’t see an end in sight, I list it in the monthly task list so that I don’t miss it.

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What a daily task list looks like.

You may have noticed that I’ve stayed away from the doodling & the colouring. I recommend you stay away from them too, at least until you’ve a solid routine in place. The idea is to have a notebook that will help you get stuff done quickly.

All of this sounds easy, but will I stick to it?

Isn’t that the hardest part! Bullet journals are a habit. Having said that, I promise it’s an easy one. Here are some ways you can stick to it –

  • Make sure your journal is a notebook that fits into your work bag. You’ll need to be carrying this everyday. Pretty notebooks are a bonus.
  • It is recommended that you write down the day’s task the night before, but who has the time for that? I do, however, take my journal out first thing when I reach work. I write down my tasks, and use that to plan my day. It only takes an extra five, ten minutes, but I get way more work done.
  • If the monthly spread looks complicated, ditch it. Start with just writing down the date, and the tasks for the day. Once you get comfortable with the idea, you can start on monthly and weekly layouts (as per your convenience)
  • Write down tasks in the order of unpleasantness. TRUST ME ON THIS.Get rid of the annoying stuff first and the rest of your day will be so much better.
  • Remember that it’s okay if you miss a day, or don’t fill up stuff for the weekends. That’s one of the great things about the bullet journal. There’s no empty space staring at you disapprovingly.
  • Don’t leave spaces between days. If you have only five tasks for a day and it covers half a page, leave a couple of lines and write down the next day’s date and tasks. Not wasting space makes your journal look good, and also encourages you to keep at it.

That’s it!

That’s pretty much it, actually. Given that November has only now begun, I do hope you try it for this month and see how it goes. Also, I did write about how to be productive in the October 2016 issue of Elle, so please do check that out as well. I’ve even listed some apps that help me focus and get more done during my day. I consider myself very, very lucky to be as busy as I am these days, and it’s thanks to these hacks that I’m able to get through!  I have a Pinterest board where I pin inspiration for bullet journals, so you can follow me there, too! Keep in mind that these are just ideas – if you have something that works for you, stick to that. Colouring is pretty, but productivity is better.

Good luck!

Origin One October 2016 Box – Review!

I caved into the Origin One October 2016 Stationery Subscription Box (The Diwali edition, it’s called?) sometime last month, and I have to say, I’m more than just pleased with it!

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Before I go into what’s in the box, a confession: I’m a huge stationery junkie -My desk is littered with pens in colours that I’ll never need, along with pencils, coloured pencils, spare pens lest the ones I have run out of ink, and refills for the spares. As if that’s not bad enough, I’ve piles and piles of beautiful, expensive notebooks that I’ve left unused because they’re too pretty to use, and more piles of regular notebooks that I purchase in lieu of using up my pretty ones. Basically, a good part of my paycheck evaporates every time I so much as think about paper goods.

Anyway, so I was stalking around instagram a few weeks ago when a very well placed advertisement for the Origin One store showed up on my feed. Naturally, I wasn’t going to ignore photos of gorgeous, well designed stationery, and a few clicks later, I found myself ordering their stationery ‘subscription’ box. The idea of a stationery subscription box was something I found exciting because if you’re anything like me, you don’t purchase stationery on a need basis (and probably have more paper related paraphernalia than you have storage space), which is why it’s nice to be surprised with a variety of different products.


I placed the order for the Big October 2016 box (which was Rs.2,000/-, they also have a small version for Rs. 1,000/-) on the 24th of September and it was home on the 29th (they start shipping on the 25th of the previous month, I’m told). It was packaged in this wonderfully old-style fashion, with a colourful watercolour wrapping paper that was held with string, a detail that I loved – it was like opening a present (that you gave yourself but whatever)!

Here’s a picture.

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11/10 for Packaging


The contents were just as impressive. More pictures!

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All the products are really well designed and functional, although the only product I actually ‘used’ was the little sweet that they’d sent. At least I hope it was a sweet (either that, or I had some really tasty glue). The checklist notepad is genius, the notebook is small, but I loved how the pages were designed (they’re dotted on one side and ruled on the other), the coasters – 4 in total – are sturdy despite being made of paper and I can’t wait to print photos for the frame. The envelopes and cards are also exceedingly pretty for gifting and stuff, but knowing me and my alpam tendencies, they’re going to stay unused in that package for a long time.

Speaking of alpam tendencies, I’ve also saved the watercolour paper and the strings lest an occasion comes tomorrow where I’ve to wrap a present (although the truth is that I’m so alpam that I’ll never use it and might end up keeping it until it becomes mouldy or something and I’m forced to throw it away).

Am I happy with this box? Absolutely. Would I order another box? Hm, I wouldn’t want a repeat of the stuff that I already got, so provided that doesn’t happen, most definitely! Given the variety of products that they have (they have planner stickers, even!) it shouldn’t happen, but if it does, then eh, I’ll stick with Hindustan Trading Centre, thanks.

Are you a stationery nut too? Where do you buy stuff? TELL ME EVERYTHING.

{Blah blah this wasn’t a paid review blah blah honest opinion blah blah gtg bank account crying bye}

How Pinteresting Really – DIY Edition

If you’re an avid Pinterest user, like I am, you’d know that that place is essentially, internet quicksand. If you aren’t a Pinterest user, I do recommend you get on the platform, because in my opinion it’s the best social network that’s out there, primarily because you get to be with a group of people but don’t have to talk to anyone. It’s genius. Anyway, I was snooping around the website yesterday when I realized that I had clocked roughly 6,200 pins on my profile – this may sound like a feat, but it really isn’t – if anything, it’s an indicator of the massive amount of productive hours I’ve wasted on that website. ANYWAY, so I checked through my boards to see what exactly I’ve been pinning all these years, and even after deducting the 1300 odd jokes and memes I’d posted on my boards, I still had 4900 bookmarks that were either full of wisdom on how to improve myself in a variety of avenues, or stuff I wanted – which brings me to this post.

I have been bookmarking internet wisdom for as long as I can remember but my following up skills after bookmarking have been non-existent – probably because when I actually want to try something it ends up being beyond the reach of my skill sets. HOWEVER, I thought I’d share 5 pins here from my Do-It-Yourself board (you know, stuff that you can buy for like Rs. 10/- but you’d rather spend Rs. 500/- on buying craft supplies to make them. Those) which I have tried, and they’ve worked for me so basically they’re idiot proof.

DIY Jewelry Organizer




What I made:

Notes: I’m always forgetting what necklaces I have and never really end up wearing anything when I go out, so the idea of having a display where I could see everything was something I immediately got on board with. Ideally I ought to have hunted down a vintage frame and then put hooks in it, but let’s get real no one has the time for that, so instead I used a cork board and push pins to create a hanging necklace display. Now I get to see what I have every morning and continue to not wear anything.

DIY Lip Scrub


lip scrub


What I made:
2 Tablespoons of Sugar with One Tablespoon Coconut Oil later…

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Notes: So when Lush (the UK bath and beauty brand) first opened in India, one of the first products I tried and loved was their Bubblegum Lip Scrub. It was about Rs. 550-600 then, and me being the selective alpam that I am, passed on buying it despite the fact that my lips get drier than the articles in the Chartered Accountant’s Journal. So I made this a few weeks ago, and I am happy to report that apart from the fact that making this is ridonculously easy, it tastes better than any store-bought lip scrub because it includes the taste of money saved (which you can waste on other things)

Bookshelf Arrangement


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What I made:
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Notes: I left the bulk of my bookshelf back home when I moved in with Suhrith, so organizing my bookshelves in my new place was a far easier task than it would have been with my original shelves back home (it is pointless to even try it there). Even then, I’d always found my bookshelf a little bleh, so I took the tip of adding ‘accents’ (stuff you wouldn’t normally put in a bookshelf) from Pinterest, and now look – so pretty! I’m also glad to report that I’ve maintained my bookshelf’s neatness by buying new books only in the Kindle.

Lit-up Bookshelf


fairy lights

What I made:fairy lights shelf, fairy lights book shelf, room inspiration

Notes: SO, I bought two packs of these warm white LED fairy lights online one sleepless night on Amazon, and realized that I had to do something with them. I ended up spending another sleepless night on Pinterest trying to figure the ways to use them, and one of them was to tape it around my bookshelf, and then I used the second pack as night lights behind my curtains, also Pinterest inspired. Currently neither are in place, because a few months after, we got a puppy and she chewed up all the wires 🙁

Origami Decoration


origami pin


What I made:

origami corner

Notes: This  is probably my favourite Pinterest thing of the lot. Making the crane isn’t easy on first go,and there’s a chance you might tear up some paper out of frustration trying to figure out the petal fold (I did) but the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Basically, I made cranes, and taped them to the bottom of my shelf with white thread. I’ve added three more cranes from the time I took this photo, and it really is the happiest corner in my study.

SO, 200 DIY pins later, I managed to like, do 5. Have you had any success with Pinterest things? Let me know if you’d like more me/idiot-proof pins and I’ll be sure to post them here!